It is for many an extreme provocation. A shameless source of irreverence. An offensive controversy.
It is conversely, a genuine exclamation of life for some others. A unique approach to normality. A quest for transcendence.
I am obviously talking about Conchita Wurst here aren’t I? Or maybe about Frederick Nietzsche? What about both?
Yes, these statements can be taken for both personages.
Assuming we all understand how these two completely and disparately different humans made their way in our history as public persons, the former through literature and philosophy, and the latter through overbold show business; I want to bring in the topic of competitiveness.
Competitiveness as a traditional and ‘old’ fashion economic view. This means flat and mean competition. Letting aside cooperation, information sharing and all this additional content needed to remain relevant nowadays in business. Just competing against each other for the same prize. That’s it.
A Unique Alternative
Having said that, I quote acclaimed Mr. Michael Porter: “don’t try to be better, strive for being different.”
He has said that repeatedly and facts along history have shown us he’s also right. Just like Nietzsche and Wurst.
How can it be? Maybe you are wondering.
“Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, “The AntiChrist’ and more of Nietzcshe’s work, state really heavy existentialism not apt for everyone.
What about Conchita Wurst? A bearded woman? A cross-dressed feminine guy? What is (s)he trying to be?
Well… something different.
Let’s consider the following about Nietzsche:
[-Through Nietzsche: The Darkness of Life ]<< A suitable way to approach Nietzsche’s thinking is to ask how he defined the self. It was the predominant view in Western philosophy and religion that human beings have a twofold nature: that they are physical bodies on the one hand and non-physical minds on the other. It is this dualistic view of human nature that Nietzsche rejects, a view that he dismisses as childish. The mature view, according to him, is to recognise that essentially mind and body are one and that what is called the mind or the soul is but an aspect of the basically physical nature of humans. In the chapter called “On the Despisers of the Body” in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes:“Body am I, and soul”—thus speaks the child. …But the awakened and knowing say: body am I entirely, and nothing else; and soul is only a word for something about the body.…. Continue Reading >>
And what about Conchita?
He’s now a unique character. He might remind you of Freddy Mercury or Boy George from the Culture Club, but not quite the same.
In one of his interviews, Conchita claims:
[Through Mama mia]“I always wanted to sing but I could not handle it as I did not want to expose myself to the public. That’s why a logical solution came to create a character that will replace me on the stage. [The] beard certainly is a provocation, a way to attract attention. I wanted to create a gender mix to show that each person has both male and female beginnings. From a medical point of view, there is nothing female in me. I haven’t had any change in my body. But how I look and what I wear is important. However, I am not a transsexual. I like my personal life and in my personal life, I’m a man. Every day, depending on the plan of the day, I define in advance what I will be – Conchita or Tom. I like my job and both personalities in me are very strong and can fully learn from each other. “
Yes! They – and what they were proposing – were completely different compared to most of what was going on out there in their worlds at their respective times. Not different as black is to white, or big against small. They were something else.
Nietzcshe became a relevant philosopher during his living time, in despite of his radical ideas and counterintuitive suggestions because his proposals were aired in a time when idealism, spiritualism and philosophy currents of the like were generally the rule. His words, in that particular moment and chosen in such a genial way, were a valid alternative. Something more pragmatic, realistic and material. He was different. -Letting alone the genius in his approach… of course
Being Different Vs. Being Differentiated
On the week of September 22nd, we have witnessed a more useful piece of geniality from BlackBerry. In the past, the company Research In Motion certainly touched bottom. They went through tough times and were the centre of critiques and more. While at the top of the ladder, they didn’t realise they were missing out a whole era in mobile communication. They didn’t react on time to the attacks of Apple introducing its bigger phones with a touchscreen – which was something else back in those times- . They neither joined the followers like Samsung et al in this new trend set by Steve Jobs. They suffered a long agony. However, suddenly the (un)expected happened. Even though they continued to be irresponsive to the new era of smartphones, finally they kicked back.
They just came up with something else.
Have you had a look at the new Passport™ ? It is a square-shaped mobile phone. What a piece of a device!
Certainly the company is having a resurgence. Just as the very Phoenix bird itself, they are back from the ashes.
Well done by RIM. They were able to put out 200,000 devices in sales on their first week after launch. Hold yourself from comparing this to the iPhone 6 levels please.
This means they are back by making something different. Remember how Tim Cook was criticised for not “really innovating” anymore in regard to phones? – Nop! bending-phones don’t count -Well, RIM just did it.
Being different is a basic ingredient of innovation. By committing yourself or your team to being different, you will push yourself out of your known limits. After failures and learning, you will likely end up inventing something. You will end up innovating with breakthroughs.
Bring the outside in, take the inside out. Make the high low and the low high. It is an exercise for creativity, isn’t it? Well, we can see it in these three pieces of history we have witnessed through the centuries. And it works.
All them were right.
Nietzsche didn’t have it easy. Neither did Chonchita (and Tom), but they grabbed a piece of history for themselves. And so did RIM. Even if the explosion of the Passport™ as a massive success is yet to be seen…. but hey! The first squared mobile phone is out. And you might like it better.